Renault looks to long-term engine boost

Renault is developing revolutionary engine technology which could feature in its new breed of Formula 1 powerplants as early as 2001

Renault looks to long-term engine boost

According to Autosport's sister publication Autocar, Renault is pressing ahead with research into a radical new valvegear system. It utilises small, electro-magnetic solenoids to operate the valves and could set a new trend in the design of engine internals.

In 1986, Renault pioneered the use of pneumatic valve actuation that increased the revving potential of the engine. Experts believe that solenoid technology could push F1 rev bands beyond the 20,000rpm mark.

The system is current being developed by Renault's engine department primarily for road car uses, as it would offer increased driveability, lower emissions and better fuel consumption. Mercedes is also believed to be investigating a similar system.

A leading F1 engine specialist said: "The downside for racing applications is that solenoid technology currently still carries with it a weight penalty. The upside is the saving in frictional losses it offers."

In the meantime, Renault will also innovate by using the widest angle V10 engine in the F1 field next year. Its 111-degree unit will debut in the hands of new test driver Mark Webber at Silverstone on Friday in the back of its Benetton B200B muletta chassis.

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